Govt postpones EDSA rehab
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III postponed the rehabilitation of Metro Manila's main thoroughfare EDSA, and ordered concerned government agencies to further study its impact on traffic.
"President Aquino instructed further study of the EDSA rehabilitation plan, including additional measures to mitigate inconvenience to motorists," Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Wednesday, February 6. "The implementation is pending until further studies are completed."
Valte said the study would be done by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the main agency tasked to implement the project, as well as the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The P3.7-billion project to improve the 23-kilometer-long EDSA was scheduled to start after the midterm elections in May. Phase one would cover the stretch of EDSA from Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to Julia Vargas Avenue in Mandaluyong City, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson earlier said.
Heavy traffic, crowded trains
The rehabilitation was widely expected to worsen traffic on EDSA, and force more passengers to take the already congested mass rail systems.
This was a major concern, according to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. Abaya was worried the rail systems, particularly the Metro Rail Transit 3 would not be able to accommodate the surge in passengers when the project pushes through.
Abaya said the MRT could cope only if new trains were added. Ordering, manufacturing and delivery of MRT trains would take around two years to complete, he noted.
The EDSA rehabilitation plan was initially part of the $71-million Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Project funded through an official development assistance from the Asian Development Bank in 2004.
The project encountered problems when the DPWH and MMDA failed to agree on the rehabilitation plan. The MMDA proposed concrete reblocking, while the DPWH wanted the more costly asphalt overlay for easier traffic management. - with reports from Cai Ordinario, Rappler.com